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Highcliffe Nursing Home pays tribute to “amazingly caring Denise” at festive party

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Highcliffe Nursing Home’s Winter Wonderland party tomorrow <16th Dec> will be tinged with sadness as staff and residents pay tribute to much loved senior support worker Denise Cracknell.

Mrs Cracknell, who had worked at the home in Stuart Road, Highcliffe, since 2010 lost her brave battle against pancreatic cancer last month.

At tomorrow’s Christmas party, which will culminate with local council chairwoman Lesley Dedman switching on the home’s Christmas lights at 4pm, visitors will be invited to donate to Macmillan Caring Locally, the charity’s local branch in Christchurch, Dorset.

Staff have also set up a GoFundMe page - www.justgiving.com/page/tracey-millar-1702640091434 - to raise money for the charity in their colleague’s honour.

Home manager Tracey Millar said: “Last week over 30 members of our team, past and present, celebrated the life of our colleague Denise Cracknell with her family and friends at her funeral.

“Denise was not only an amazingly caring senior carer who loved the residents she cared for, but was always laughing and joking with her colleagues and was at times outrageously funny.”

She said the day she met Denise she knew they would have a special bond and that continued until her death on 15th November.

“Denise was diagnosed with cancer at the end of the Covid lockdown in 2022 and sadly despite two rounds of chemotherapy she did not respond well to the treatment,” said Mrs Millar.

“In the summer of 2022 we were enjoying a residents’ barbecue and I sent Denise a picture as I knew she loved the residents. Without a word she asked her husband Graham to drive her to the nursing home to surprise us - she had to be helped into the home as she had just endured chemotherapy and lost her hair but in she came and demanded some trifle which of course she got!

“A few months later Denise attended our summer fete to help us and we raised £1000 for Pancreatic Cancer UK.

“She was given the devastating news earlier this year to go and enjoy herself and do anything she wanted to do, and she did - trips abroad with family and friends, a break to Center Parcs and a cruise with her husband Graham.

“Throughout this time, I never heard Denise moan or complain or say why me, she just continued to send funny/often rude messages to us all and pop in when she could to see everyone. A little light has gone out in the nursing home but an even brighter light is shining above us right now.”

Their fund-raising for Macmillan which supported Denise in her final weeks will continue with a raffle on New Year’s Eve. People are invited to buy tickets from the home.


Highlights of tomorrow’s party, open to the public, include festive tunes from Retro Rita at 3pm and a guaranteed snow flurry from the home’s snow machine.

Find out more visit Highcliffe Nursing Home website

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